5 Reasons You Should Consider a Gap Year

by SoFar Em 2 years ago in travel

Really, really think about it.

5 Reasons You Should Consider a Gap Year

High school was finished and just like everyone else in my graduating class, I was supposed to go to University. That took a different turn at the start of my Senior year. After being told I would forget everything later on, not get a decent job or career, and that I’d be stuck with my parents for longer than everyone else, I did it anyway. I took a Gap Year.

  • Two years later, I still haven’t gone to University.
  • Two years later, I’ve done more in the 20 years of my life than some 30-year-olds have ever done.
  • Two years later, I’m licensed in the professional field of Security and a dedicated Martial Artist, living on my own near the Heart of Liverpool, UK, and having the absolute time of my life.

This is a list of what I learned, and why you should consider a Gap Year too.

1. Figure out what you actually want to do before you decide.

I had absolutely no clue what I wanted to major in if I went to University. I was stuck on at least 5 different subjects and wanted to do all of them. The last thing I wanted was to go into a major, find out Ionly wanted to do it as a hobby, and waste thousands for a degree and future career I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a part of for what most people call “the rest of your life.”

I highly recommend really considering what you want to do before you go into University. I spent the last half of my Junior year and full Senior year looking into volunteer work, jobs, and internships; testing out future possibilities. There is a whole world of options for you try, and it wants you to take them.

2. Some Universities will like you even more if you take a Gap year.

At the time, I was only a citizen of the United States. I was waiting for my father to finish the application for my British Citizenship to which I could then, "hopefully," apply to a school in the UK. Let’s just say, that didn’t go as planned.

I was finding out that a lot of Universities were rather open to upcoming students that took a Gap Year before they decided to apply to college. Some schools, like one in North Carolina, USA, actually have a program to help fund an upcoming freshmen’s gap year! Other schools say that they find students who took a Gap Year to either fund their studies, finalize their major by testing it out or getting qualified through programs, or did something rather than “a year off” to be very well rounded, have higher grades than their high school transcript said, and overall, be an A+ student!

3. You shouldn’t just sit around.

Like #2 said, if you just “take a year off” and don’t do anything with the plan of getting into college or university afterwards, the chances of you getting into as good of a college from when you first graduated could be much slimmer.

My advice is if you decide to take a gap year, do something with it. There are tons of sites that will let you find that internship job or the perfect gap year program for you. Work to save money for your study. Try something new or travel! Test yourself and change yourself to become something better and to have something better in the future.

When I graduated and took a gap year, I did not think I’d end up living on my own in an entirely new country. I did not believe my own ears when I got offered a job or my own eyes as I was training in an ancient Shaolin martial art to be an Instructor. But I tried it anyways, and I’d say I’m kicking butt. You can too!

4. Travel!

Now, I’m not saying to not do that internship or job for the year and to just travel the world, but just maybe don’t take that job or internship for the year and just travel! Although I was lucky and had a trust fund, it may be worth it if you make your gap year a little bit longer than a year. Work, save, travel!

A number of doors you will open for yourself by just going to another country are insane. The amount of personal, mental doors you will open and change yourself for the better is maddening! I am a completely different person compared to 2015. I am healthier, happier, free, and unstoppable.

In 2015, I just graduated. I travelled around the states and then suddenly to Canada to prove to my father I was fully capable of going overseas on my own. These simple actions got me insanely organized financially and physically. I became more independent. I found a Martial arts retreat in Thailand, Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat, which I have been to twice. I’m now an instructor there, helping with the Online Marketing (Which has also been self-taught), and train proficiently as much as I can while away. I’ve learned, lost, and won. I’m living and breathing on my own. Not dying, like my 15-year-old old self thought would happen.

Now is the prime time to do this. The next time you’ll want to do this, you’ll probably be somewhere in debt or stuck to some year or longer contract. When is the next time you’ll have 0 debts and no strings attached to any current situation around you?Probably not for a long time.

5. Start and don’t stop.

This goes along with #3, "You shouldn’t just sit around." You can’t have that great relief of a “job well done afternoon laze” without doing that degree, class, and scuba diving adventure in a day.

You can’t have everything you want with doing the work to get it. It’s like playing the guitar. You want to learn it, you have to practice it. If you don’t practice it, you’ll never learn it. Like drawing the “perfect circle” or doing a "one-handed cartwheel."

What I find that people forget is that if you stop doing those cartwheels, chances are in a few weeks, you won’t be able to do it as well before. It’s exactly like writing this blog. For me, my writing skills are improving every time I make a post. If I don’t do it, it never gets uploaded, and I never get better. No results. If I keep going, it only gets better.

Start and don’t stop.

So, I’m not saying you shouldn’t do University (I do entirely disagree with the Education System), but I’m saying you should highly consider all other options as well. I fully stand by the note that not everyone does their best in school. Remember, you can fully accomplish all your goals and dreams in any way you want. You can learn more than you could ever imagine by just taking a step outside your door or comfort zone. You can also do this if you decide to go to University too!

Balance yourself. Lay out your choices, and pick out the one that is best for you. Don’t do something just because you see the rest of society doing it. If you really want to do something different, remember that it is okay to do so and that you, yourself are NOT different.

Read next: The Unconventional College Life
SoFar Em

I'm a 20-year-old travelling and living on little to nothing, trying to build a happy life and work toward my goal of a Martial Arts Instructor.  

See all posts by SoFar Em